Michelle Wie’s opening round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship went from bad to worse in a hurry, and it had little to do with howling winds and spitting rain.
Wie, playing in her first event in two months because of lingering right wrist issues, three-putted for bogey on her opening hole and reached into a refreshment cooler in search of ice on the next tee. She spent the rest of the morning icing her wrist and applying therapy cream on and off between shots.
All 84 of them.
Afterward, a visibly spent Wie put on a smile as she addressed reporters. But after 64 seconds of rehashing her return to the course, she broke into tears outside of the Hazeltine clubhouse in Chaska.
“I’m not entirely sure how much more I have left in me,” she said, covering her face. “Even on a bad day, like, you try to enjoy it. But it’s tough. I just love being out here.”
Wie wiped her eyes, took a step back, grabbed an umbrella and made her way to the players’ parking lot consoled by members of her team.
It was a glum sight for Wie, whose professional career began with lofty expectations as a 15-year-old and has featured a major championship at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open but also a host of maladies.
Thursday’s 12-over total — Wie’s worst score as a professional — put her in second-to-last place among the morning wave, one better than club pro Brittany Kelly.
Wie birdied her second hole — No. 11 — and shook off a double bogey at No. 13 with a birdie on the short par-4 14th. But after another bogey at 15, Wie’s tee shot on the par-3 17th went short and well right of the green, over the cart path and into the deep rough. She then chipped into a greenside bunker, blasted barely onto the green and two-putted for another double.
A quadruple-bogey 7 on No. 8 was the final blow.
“It’s Day 1; it was a little foolish to think that I would shoot really well after only hitting balls [again] a week ago at a course like Hazeltine,” Wie said in her opening remarks. “It’s a tough golf course but I’m really, really happy that I played. Just a lot of joy in competing again.”
Playing partner Lydia Ko shot 1 under and said Wie kept her head up the entire round, and often complimented her shots and those of Minjee Lee (2 over). That was a welcome sight, said Ko, who considers Wie a mentor.
“Because of her I wanted to go to Stanford,” Ko said. “She was [in] the spotlight at such a young age and was the first of many things.
“She’s got a great smile and even with [her score], it shows what a world-class player she is.”